Smethwick Streets is alive for Vaisakhi parties

Smethwick Streets is alive for Vaisakhi parties
Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick

Smethwick High Street was full of people coming together to celebrate Vaisakhi, the spring festival of the Sikh faith that marked the start of a new year.

The area outside Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick was the center of the celebrations, with a host of stalls promoting services, free food and drink offered by Langar volunteers from the gurdwara and a variety of events.

More than 10,000 people from across the region came to attend the celebration on Sunday, marking the first time the gurdwara had been able to host a Vaisakhi event of this scale since 2019.

Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick
Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick
Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick

Gurdwara education coordinator Sarbjit Singh said it was a scaled-down version of the usual event where the organizing committee made the decision to make a smaller event due to timing.

He said: “Normally there would be a parade starting from Smethwick High Street and going all the way to Handsworth and passing other gurdwara on the way.

“This year, however, we did not get out of Covid restrictions with enough time to be able to plan the routes, because it is a massive project with closure of roads, fire and health and safety and giving everyone enough notice.

Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick
Vaisakhi celebrations in High Street, Smethwick
Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick

“We decided to do this as a minor event for this year outside of gurdwara and make it a great day for everyone on Smethwick High Street.”

The event saw demonstrations of Sikh martial arts like Gatka, while representatives from West Bromwich Albion and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were also present to promote their events and meet people.

Sarbjit Singh said the event had been possible thanks to the support of Sandwell Council and partners in Smethwick and said it was just great to be able to hold such an event for everyone again.

Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick
Vaisakhi parties in High Street, Smethwick
All a bit much for this little one

He said: “It’s great because a lot of older people have not been able to go out in the last couple of years and they’ve had the chance to come here in the good weather and have fun.

“It has also been good for younger people as they have learned about Vaisakhi is and now get the chance to celebrate it and it is great to get the community together.

“Next year we will make it bigger and take it to Birmingham, but this year we will enjoy it and make sure we have more involved next time.”

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